Types of Court Records

There are dozens of different types of public court records with topics spanning everything from civil actions to arrest reports to juvenile court records. Wading through them can be difficult, especially because courts in the United States do not have a standardized court record keeping system. In addition, the information included varies depending on the type of court record and the level of court that records it. For example, the data recorded in a civil dispute by a local court may be different than the data recorded in a civil dispute by a district court. To make things even more confusing identical cases may be recorded slightly differently by courts in different areas. Court records may differ depending on location.

So many components and variances can make the task of searching court records somewhat daunting. However, knowing where to look, and which offenses fall under which categories is an excellent starting point. Below is a brief summary of the different types of court records available to the public, and what each means and/or encompasses from a legal standpoint.

State Court Records

State Courts handle the vast majority of non-criminal cases in the United States. Knowing the state in which your case of interest was held will be paramount to expediting your search for this type of court record.

Civil Court Records

Civil Action litigations are cases involving monetary damages. Civil court records will cover: civil action cases, small claims, eviction actions, court judgments and probate.

Criminal Court Records

Criminal Court Records will cover all types of criminal cases including: misdemeanors, felonies, warrants, arrests and sex-offender cases.

A court records search is a very broad way to find information. Because of the wide variety of types of court records available, the span of information possible to uncover is also quite large and varied. Court records can include everything from personal information from civil cases to technical information from federal cases. Many times a court records search will provide the desired information along with much more related information that is just as detailed and helpful. In addition, the public records that are associated with court records hold even more information about the individuals being searched.

The reason for this is that whichever agency or court that records and files the public record is going to want all the extraneous data related to the case, claim or incident to be available upon recall if necessary. Within the above categories you may expect to find the following types of public records in your court records search:

  • National Arrest & Court Warrants
  • National Federal & State Tax Liens
  • National Federal & Civil Judgments
  • Court Docket Sheets
  • Age/Date of Birth
  • Alias/Maiden Name
  • Distinguishing Bodily Marks, Scars or Features
  • List of Relatives with Addresses
  • Roommates and Associates
  • Possible Neighbors
  • Public or Private Associations
  • Property Ownership Records
  • Marriages/Divorces
  • Death Index Check
  • DUI Records

No matter what data you are seeking you are bound to find much more with a proper and thorough court records search. The tricky part is not knowing what you are looking for, but how to find it.